New Updates to Microsoft Teams’ Phishing Protection

Safe Links Protection

The use of video conferencing and team collaboration software has skyrocketed over the past year, with many businesses adopting a work-from-home model. Use of the Microsoft Teams platform grew from an average of 44 million users in March 2020 to an impressive 145 million daily active users by April 2021. However, this increase in usage did not go unnoticed by cybercriminals. For the past year, phishers have been sending fake notification emails to collect Microsoft Teams and Office 365 login credentials from unsuspecting users.

To bolster their platform’s security, Microsoft has announced that they are adding Office 365’s Safe Links feature to Microsoft Teams. Read on to learn more about how Safe Links works.

What Are Microsoft’s Safe Links Features?

Safe Links helps protect users from malicious, link-based phishing attacks by providing time-of-click verification when a user clicks on a URL. The feature works hand in hand with Microsoft Defender for Office 365, utilizing up-to-date intelligence to determine if a URL is legitimate or if it is a fraud attempt. The links are first scanned when the email is received, and again when the user clicks on them.

Why Check the Link Twice?

Hackers are incredibly intelligent. As new advancements in cybersecurity are developed, cybercriminals adjust their tactics in response. Their methods are constantly evolving in an attempt to stay a step ahead of security software. Here is one such scenario:

  • A phisher creates an email asking the user to log in and update their account. They include a URL that directs the user to a valid site.
  • The business’s antivirus software scans the incoming email, identifies the link as valid (and therefore, harmless), and allows it to be delivered to the user’s inbox.
  • Shortly after, the phisher updates the link, redirecting the link to a malicious site.

The user is often easily duped by the fake link—after all, if it was malicious, shouldn’t the antivirus software have caught it? This is why time-of-click validation is so important, and why Safe Links scans the links twice.

How Does This Apply to Microsoft Teams?

Safe Links has been an integral part of Microsoft Defender for Office 365 for a while, but new updates have extended the protection beyond your email inbox. Adding this functionality to Microsoft Teams helps guard against malicious links in conversations, group chats, and channels. Safe Links also scans links in documents that are shared between users.

Microsoft’s Group Program Manager of Office 365 Security, Girish Chander, reports that Safe Links is “just one part of a growing list of security and compliance capabilities in Microsoft Teams, including conditional access, Multi-Geo support, and more!”


Video conference and collaboration platforms give businesses the freedom they need to provide work-from-anywhere solutions for their employees. But with so many active daily users, it’s important to ensure your network is secure and protected against cyber threats. That’s where BSC Solutions Group comes in.  Visit our website to learn more about our network security services today!

August 16, 2021 3:30:27 PM

Bill Boisvenue

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